Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Queen Elizabeth II exchanged orders on Thursday at a state banquet at Mushrif Palace.
Shaikh Khalifa conferred on Queen Elizabeth the Order of Zayed, the UAE's highest civil decoration. He also bestowed the Order of the Federation on both Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Queen Elizabeth presented Shaikh Khalifa with the Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, GCB.
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on May 18, 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements.
The Queen also honoured His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, with the Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, GCMG.
The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George is an order of chivalry founded on April 28, 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III.
The haunting sound of traditional Yola and Ayalla dancers greeted Queen Elizabeth II as she arrived to the cheers of a 3,000-strong crowd on the lawns of Emirates Palace yesterday.
The Vice-President welcomed the monarch, along with Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and William Hague, Foreign Minister.
"We have a sure desire to build the best relations with the UK and to further expand bilateral cooperation on all levels, based on a mutual future vision that is based on optimism and trust," Shaikh Mohammad said.
He escorted Queen Elizabeth around an exhibition of the forthcoming Zayed National Museum's programme, which will tell the story of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the transformation of the UAE, the nation's history and its cultural connections.
The programme represents the five pillars of Shaikh Zayed's legacy: history and society; people and heritage; land and water; faith and Islam; and science and learning.
Thursday was the first time that the design of the museum was made public. Queen Elizabeth and the Vice-President unveiled a commemorative plaque at the event.
The monarch, dressed in a lilac and blue floral summer dress with matching hat and white gloves, then took time to meet the guests.
Children dangled their legs over the barrier, waving flags and cheering as she approached.
"It's good to see you back in the Gulf, Sir," one British man called out to the Duke of Edinburgh from the crowd. The Duke then stopped to speak to the Britons who were glad to welcome the royal party back.
Young Emirati children in traditional colourful dress presented the Queen with flowers as she left the event, to rapturous applause. Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Prince Philip attended a military parade conducted on the western side of the Emirates Palace. The parade included a joint show by the UAE and UK military air wings and navy.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, viewed a flyby of UAE and UK jets as part of the royal visit, in the presence of Prince Philip. They also met 80 members of the UAE Forces Alumni, comprising former students from Britain's Armed Forces Officers' Naval, Air Force and Military Academies.
Shaikh Majid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a graduate of Sandhurst, Prince Andrew and Foreign Secretary William Hague were also present. More than 198 Emiratis have graduated from Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst since 1974.
Prince Philip yesterday signed an agreement as Chancellor of Cambridge University, with Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, entering a 10-year partnership with the UAE University.
The agreement aims to lay the foundations for a ten-year academic collaboration to develop and strengthen research and education in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and Gulf region.
Tribute to Zayed's legacy
In memory of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it reflects his life and work as well as the rich history of the UAE. Set amongst lush gardens, the design of the museum features five soaring pavilions, representing the feathers of a falcon's wing, reaching a height of 124 metres, towering over the waters of the Arabian Gulf.